By Kalina Bryant
A growing number of minorities in the technology industry have been making a bold decision to step away from their corporate roles and pursue entrepreneurship in recent years. This trend reflects a desire for greater autonomy, the pursuit of creative visions, and the aim to make a meaningful impact on their communities. Members within the BIPOC community, particularly Black women, are worn out from discrimination in corporate America. They’re leaving to launch their own businesses, creating a hole for talent across industries.
Venture Capital and Black Women’s Impact
The number of black women-owned businesses increased by 50% between 2014 and 2019, according to a report by American Express. The number of black-owned businesses increased by 34% between 2007 and 2012, according to a report by the US Census Bureau. During a recent UnapologeTECH interview Black Girl Code Founder Kimberly Bryant discusses her new project Ascend Ventures, a Black innovation lab that will provide founders the space, tools, and support to get them from idea to final product to funding after experiencing an abrupt and unethical termination from her position as CEO of Black Girl Code. Kimberly wants to see new minority founders find success in their ideas and help provide the financial resources to succeed.
Minorities Pivoting Away From TECH
The tech industry has made efforts to address diversity and inclusion; some individuals feel that entrepreneurship offers a more inclusive path to success. According to a Hello Alice survey, 23 percent of new businesses founded in 2020 were started by black entrepreneurs, up from 16 percent in 2019, and nearly 20 percent more Black owners than non-Black owners said they expect their businesses to grow in 2023.
During an interview on UnapologeTECH, Fred Mathieu, a seasoned tech recruiter turned full-time entrepreneur discusses his journey on pivoting from building a successful career in tech in talent acquisition to pivoting to entrepreneurship and launching The Flourish Factory, with hopes to not only build a great product but also build a world-class organization where customers, clients, and employees flourish.
Fred highlights that since 2020, Black micro-business owners account for 26 percent of all new lifestyle businesses. That’s an 11% increase in market share since before the pandemic. With the recent layoffs, Fred and other founders don’t see this slowing down, and tech companies and VC’s can benefit from this by partnering with them and tapping into the newfound potential in these businesses. They can also benefit from being able to invest in them early.
Effects Of Discrimination And Bias In The Tech Workforce
Black people, especially Black women, have reported experiencing discrimination and bias in the tech industry, which can impact their career advancement and overall job satisfaction. Some minorities are taking a leap into entrepreneurship due to the climax of the tech layoff’, however, other new founders have decided to walk away from the tech industry because of the toxic environment filled with discrimination and bias in the workforce. Many people are thrilled to land a job in the tech industry, and many people from diverse backgrounds thrive; however, it comes with a cost for many minorities experiencing toxic environments that decrease morale and caused unhappiness and work-life balance. Racism and discrimination may contribute to some black people leaving full-time tech jobs to become entrepreneurs. A 2020 report by the National Urban League found that black workers are significantly underrepresented in high-paying tech jobs and that they face systemic barriers to advancement and success in the industry.
Joshua Blackwell a seasoned sales account executive turned founder of BLCK UNICRN in tech, was interviewed on UnapologeTECH, highlighting the lack of access when working in hyper-growth tech companies. Josh identified himself as an outsider while working at companies like Oracle and Samsara and stated he wanted to work in an environment that was inclusive. Joshua stated, “I knew I could build something from scratch, and more importantly, I wanted to treat people better, build a stronger culture, and wanted to bring in a team of outsiders who wanted to make an impact.” His experienced pushed him to take the entrepreneurial route like many other minorities who refuse to work in hostile environments. This may be the new alternative for the BIPOC community working in tech if the hostile environments in tech don’t change.
5 Ways Tech Companies Can Benefit From New BIPOC Founders
Tech companies can benefit in several ways from BIPOC employees who leave to become entrepreneurs.
- Diverse perspectives and experiences: Many tech companies lack innovation and have a hard time being thought leaders in the space, mainly because they lack diverse perspectives and creative lenses. If everyone in the room looks the same and has the same background, you run the risk of producing mediocre results. By welcoming BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) founders into the tech industry, companies can tap into a wealth of diverse perspectives and experiences. This diversity can lead to innovation, creativity, and new approaches to problem-solving. BIPOC founders often bring unique cultural insights and understandings of underserved markets, which can help companies identify new business opportunities and reach a broader customer base.
- Enhanced cultural competency and increased employee satisfaction: Tech companies have the opportunity to nurture employees that showcase excellence, and in the economy we live in today, may employees won’t stay the traditional 20 years at a company. Tech companies have the ability to give employees perks to work on their passion projects and potentially be early investors for amazing ideas. This allows Tech companies to remain innovative and create an inclusive and honest culture. If founders have the ability to bring new ideas, companies will see better employee retention and satisfaction rates. Having BIPOC founders within a tech company can contribute to the development of cultural competency within the organization. Fostering an environment where employees understand, respect, and appreciate different cultural backgrounds can improve collaboration, teamwork, and communication among diverse teams, ultimately leading to better products and services.
- Expanded market reach: Including BIPOC founders can help tech companies tap into previously untapped markets. BIPOC communities represent significant consumer segments that may have distinct needs, preferences, and purchasing power. By having founders who understand these markets intimately, companies can develop products and services tailored to the specific needs of these communities. This can lead to increased market share, customer loyalty, and overall business growth.
- Enhanced reputation and brand image: Embracing BIPOC founders can improve a tech company’s reputation and brand image. Tech companies spend an obscene amount of money on settlements to protect the company’s brand. In an increasingly diverse and socially conscious world, consumers and stakeholders are actively seeking businesses that demonstrate inclusivity and equity. By championing BIPOC founders and showcasing their success, companies can position themselves as leaders in diversity and inclusion, attracting a more diverse customer base and fostering positive brand perception.
- Access to diverse talent pool: By actively supporting and promoting BIPOC founders, tech companies gain access to a broader talent pool. This allows them to recruit highly skilled individuals from diverse backgrounds who may bring unique skill sets, perspectives, and experiences to the table. A diverse workforce has been shown to foster innovation, improve problem-solving abilities, and drive business performance. By attracting and retaining BIPOC talent, tech companies can strengthen their teams and gain a competitive edge in the industry.
Ultimately, the tech industry has work to do in terms in terms of diversity and inclusion and creating a safe space, however, tech companies can make a different by supporting new and upcoming founders at all stages.
See Original Article at Forbes